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Low Vision (Blindness)

 

There are two main categories of Low Vision. Firstly being partially sighted or sight impaired, where the level of sight loss is moderate blindness. Secondly severe sight impairment, where the level of sight loss is so severe that a person is normally unable to complete any activities that rely heavily on eyesight.

Traits

  • Some people may use a guide dog or white cane
  • Some individuals may start to experience some difficulties but not realise they are developing a visual impairment. For example, losing peripheral vision, vision becoming cloudy or holes in their vision.
 

Potential impact on daily life and employment

  • Need for use of non-text based information
  • Some support may be required with daily living
  • Sudden or recently acquired visual impairments can have a significant emotional impact and may also affect family and personal relationships
  • Individuals can experience social isolation or a loss of independence.
 

Support in the workplace

  • Ensure the eye condition is properly understood – what are the effects and triggers day-to-day? Is the condition degenerative?

  • Understand the history of the individual’s condition. Someone who has had some sight, even if they lost their sight at a young age, will have a different understanding of the world around them than someone who has been completely blind from birth
  • Consider how the induction will be delivered? If it is text based make sure it is accessible for the candidate. If it is online, consider how someone may support the individual through the content if the software is not visually accessible
  • Make sure all aids, adaptations and support are in place from the first day of employment
  • Equipment, such as software packages, will often come with a training package to help the employee get the most support
  • Think about how workplace communications need to be adapted to ensure the individual is fully included – workplace isolation can result in increased stress or anxiety
  • Ensure the individual is confident in evacuating the building in case of emergency (eg. fire alarm) - where possible have a buddy who will help
  • If the individual uses a guide dog, make sure arrangements are in place - for toileting, water is available etc.
  • Make sure work colleagues are aware that they must not fuss or feed a guide dog. The individual may choose to inform colleagues of this themselves.

 

It is estimated that there are 357,000 people in Australia who are blind or who have low vision. 

Source; Vision Australia.

 

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